Jerry Bladdick, the chief administrative officer and vice president for Lindenwood University’s Belleville campus, announced a major expansion to its athletics department on Wednesday. Lindenwood Belleville will add men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s volleyball, and cheerleading.
“While all along the University had plans to expand its sport programs, none of us thought that it would be as soon or as large as we are announcing,” said Bladdick. “Lindenwood has always been responsive to our student needs and wants. One of the things we heard over and over was, ‘when are you going to offer more sports?’ This fall, we start men’s soccer and women’s volleyball. After we looked at the overwhelming interest in both programs it was determined that we need to expand and offer additional programs.”
“Adding these athletic programs will cause a great deal of community excitement, expand enrollments, and create more school spirit. They will even have a positive affect economically as we update and expand our gymnasium and tennis courts, and make purchases to support these new programs.”
The two basketball teams, like men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball, will be a member of the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA). Men’s volleyball will belong to the USA Volleyball national organization, and cheerleading will compete in the National Cheerleaders Association (NCA). The school is still exploring options for what organization the tennis programs will compete in.
The head coach of the basketball and tennis teams, as well as the school’s new Sports Information Director, will be Scott Spinner, a coach with previous NCAA experience. Spinner has been the assistant basketball coach at Fontbonne University since 2007 and was named the head tennis coach at that school earlier this year. He helped the Griffins basketball team win back-to-back conference tournament championships and NCAA postseason tournament appearances. Spinner also founded Fontbonne’s Champs Life Skills Program, which assists student-athletes in academics, athletics, personal development, professional development, and service.
Spinner graduated from Webster University in 2007 and lettered in both tennis and basketball at the school. He will complete his Master of Management from Fontbonne in December.
“The selection of Scott Spinner as the first Lindenwood Belleville head basketball coach was easy,” said Bladdick. “Scott is talented, energetic, and ethical and brings with him the type of program vision we are seeking.”
“When you are building a new sport programs like Lindenwood Belleville is doing, you only get one chance to make a first impression, and like our other coaches, Scott makes an excellent first impression,” added Bladdick. “He is the type of person that parents will feel very good about having their sons and daughters associate with. His players will also see him as a role model that they can look up and emulate.”
“It has been a goal of mine to be a head basketball coach and I am excited for this opportunity to build my own program from scratch,” said Spinner. “I look forward to being able to recruit a lot of young players in basketball and tennis who will be able to come in and make an immediate impact in our inaugural seasons.”
The men’s volleyball head coach will be Veronica Kirkpatrick, who is also the school’s women’s volleyball head coach. Prior to starting at Lindenwood Belleville, she was the girl’s head cross country coach and a member of the volleyball coaching staff at Marissa High School.
Kirkpatrick is a former volleyball player at Danville Area Community College. She received her undergraduate degree from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville and will graduate from McKendree University this month with her Masters.